The Betrayal

Let me give you a bit of a back story. We came to Macon Road Baptist church in December of 2018.

This picture is from the Sunday we were presented to the church and my husband said “the best way you can show love to me is to love my wife.”

It was after we experienced much devastation and betrayal at our last church of 5 years. I was hesitant to jump right in. My guard was up. I had been so hurt by our last church. It took me a full year of being in the background before I agreed to teach a women’s Sunday school class. I was hesitant but I love to teach and I needed to serve and utilize my gift. So I began teaching and the Lord began to grow my class and bring in like-minded believers. Though we always had such a comrade in my class, I was unaware of what was brewing amongst the women in other classes.

It all happened May 11, 2022. I got a call at home from my husband who says “Babe, I need to tell you something.” I could tell whatever he was about to say was going to be difficult and he was preparing me for it. Then he proceeded to tell me how a man who was on staff confided in him that his wife had been speaking with other women about me. They had various issues with me including they didn’t like my clothing, they didn’t like my Facebook posts, they didn’t think I stayed long enough after service, and they didn’t think I ministered to certain people enough during their time of need. So basically, 6-7 women had been in on it and had spoken about me in a negative light with other women in the church. Where this occurred I’m still not sure, but it seems like it happened at church which is all the more hurtful. To think about women in your congregation gathering in the bathroom with the purpose of condemning their pastor’s wife is atrocious. And then the shocker. It had all started the previous year in December. It had been going on for 6 months. 6 months these women had to come to me and tell me and 6 months they chose not to. These weren’t just women whom I had no relationship with either. These are women who have had me in their homes, I ministered to while they were suffering disease, hung out with at family gatherings and football games, rode on their pontoon boats with, were close with my kids. These were friends. Women who I trusted. The absolute shock of finding out who it was has yet to subside. I immediately texted the one who I was the closest with and said ”Have you been speaking with other women about me in a negative light? and about my clothing?” and she responded with “No, they came to me” which turned out was a lie because we found out she had indeed gone to the other women. What began that day was the start of the most hurtful events that have ever happened to me as a pastor’s wife. Hearing that I had been betrayed and that women who I thought loved me had done this was completely devastating. Nothing can prepare you for this type of betrayal.

My husband began to call all of the women whose names were mentioned to him to get their side of the story and set up a face to face meeting. It was kind of a tricky situation being my husband but also my pastor and incorporating church discipline. The first step was to confront the offenders. It became clear after speaking with some of them that there were two ring leaders. My husband set up meetings with both along with their husbands. One seemed remorseful and expressed the desire to repent for her part and the other said she would meet with me but didn’t seem to acknowledge any wrong doing. I waited to see if anyone would repent. A month went by. A month of absolute brokenness. I woke up everyday in a state of perpetual sadness. Fighting back tears as I tried to be a mom and a wife. But I was spiraling. I felt like I had brought shame to my husband’s ministry and that was never my intention. I have struggled with depression most of my adult life and this had truly triggered the worst bout of depression I had ever had. Two solid months of it. I was an emotional wreck. I was unable to teach my class or even attend church. I spent my mornings in tears over my Bible and my nights in my husband’s arms weeping. I finally decided I would pursue some type of resolution one month in. I texted the two ring leaders and one other lady and asked for their repentance and then asked for a face to face meeting. Since my husband had met with them individually already and I was under the impression they were ready to repent, I agreed to meet with the three of them at one time up at our church. Little did I know what was about to come.

On Tuesday, June 14th of 2022, one month after it happened, I arranged a meeting with the three women who were willing to meet. I spent the day in prayer but with high hopes that the women would repent and we would resolve it peacefully. I prayed that I would be gracious and the Lord would grant them repentance. I arrived that night at the church and began the meeting by opening up in prayer. Then I began addressing the topic of modesty based on the Greek meaning of the word which is used once in 1 Timothy and means ”proper for.” This was explained and I went to the Scripture for context and also explained how I was under my husband’s authority and the men (elders) in the church. All of whom have given me approval as far as my clothing and said they have never once seen me in anything inappropriate. After I finished speaking on that and went into Matthew 18 and how they had a responsibility to come to me or my husband if they had any concerns or believed I was in sin, I let them speak. It quickly became evident that they did not come there to repent. One by one, they went around scolding me and expressing distaste for certain things I have worn or things I’ve not done right as a pastor’s wife. Even lying about certain outfits and lying about my husband’s meetings with them and who had started all of this. It was attack and deflect the whole time. Not a single woman admitted she was in sin. It was clear their goal was to attack me, condemn me, attempt to discredit me. At one point, the emotions of everything finally caught up to me and I began to weep telling them how hurt and betrayed I felt and depressed I had been. One of the women looked at me and said ”We don’t care. Hush with that.” The same woman at multiple times also raised her voice and stood up, finger in my face, and said ”I will get up and leave if you don’t shut up and let me talk.” I was trying to make it clear I was leading the meeting since Im the one who called them all to repentance but she wasn’t having it. Their rage was taking over and they looked at me with absolute disdain. They couldn’t care less about how hurt I was. They came as wolves and I was their prey. When I realized their attitudes were getting more hostile by the minute, I stood up and said ”I have to go.” I got in my car and tried to leave but was crying so hard that I had to pull my car over. It took me hours to get home. My husband left immediately to go sit with the deacons and fill them in.

From there, it is all kind of a blur to me. The next few days I actually had a mental breakdown. I laid in the bed all day and cried. It seemed hopeless. I had never felt so hated by anyone. I felt actual physical pain. I was unable to eat, sleep, or take care of my household. One of the women called and had her membership removed the next day. The other ring leader’s husband was fired from his position the next day and so they were leaving. The third lady called to set up a meeting with my husband and then canceled it and we haven’t seen them since. My husband even spoke with her husband and he agreed his wife was in sin and needed to repent. Apparently she wasn’t willing. A few weeks after the meeting, the biggest shock. A man whom my husband had grown very close with over the years had turned in his keys and was stepping down from his position over the men. Turns out one of the women had been going to everyone she could in attempt to take as many with her as she could. This man didn’t even call my husband to talk to him. Just listened to the woman and my husband had to hear from someone else that he had stepped down. This crushed my husband. He said there has never been a time where he has felt so hurt or betrayed in all of his years of pastoring. The other women have all either denied it and one said ”let’s just move on” or just left the church. Not one has come to me in repentance. 12 people total have left. The last text I sent to one of the ring leaders was me pleading with her to repent of this heinous sin and that what happened to me in that meeting was atrocious. I am willing to forgive if they would repent. She responded with “Please quit texting me.” Without repentance it’s difficult to have any resolution. They all attempted to justify their gossip by saying ”we were just concerned about you and struggled with how to approach you.” So instead, they went amongst themselves speaking about me. This is clear sin. When you decide to talk about another person with others instead of going to that person directly, you are disobeying God’s clearly prescribed directions in Matthew 18. The Spirit doesn’t lead people to sin. This was gossip, slander, and stirring up division amongst the brethren in the worst way, against their own pastor and his wife.

15 “Lord, who may reside (A)in Your tent?
Who may settle on Your (B)holy hill?
One who (C)walks with integrity, practices righteousness,
And (D)speaks truth in his heart.
He (E)does not slander [a]with his tongue,
Nor (F)do evil to his neighbor,
Nor (G)bring shame on his friend;
A despicable person is despised in his eyes,
But he (H)honors those who fear the Lord;” Psalm 15:1-4

The pain that comes from a friend who has brought shame upon you is incredibly painful. Realizing those who you felt like were your family in Christ and have chosen to dishonor you is devastating.

12 For it is (T)not an enemy who taunts me,
Then I could endure it;
Nor is it one who hates me who (U)has exalted himself against me,
Then I could hide myself from him.
13 But it is you, a man [h]my equal,
My (V)companion and my (W)confidant;
14 We who had sweet [i]fellowship together,
(X)Walked in the house of God among the commotion.” Psalm 55:12-14

Not only has the original sin had no repentance, the slander has carried on. The division is still happening. The lies are carrying on. Sin upon sin is being added to the first offense. I have had to work through so many thoughts in my own flesh so that bitterness does not spring up. Betrayal has many stages- Shock, anger, then sadness. You can’t make people repent, God must grant it. I don’t know what made these women turn on me but I fear it’s due to not knowing Christ. If they are born again getting so caught up in sin and refusing to repent is a dangerous place to be. Satan used them to inflict a great wound upon my husband and I and I pray there is grace for their hardened hearts. It was such a crushing blow that we considered leaving the ministry. When the ministry is chewing up your family and spitting them out something has to be done. All we did was love them faithfully with a singular goal- to teach Christ and Him crucified. I know that I did not sin against these women and my love for them was always genuine. I just thought I’d get the same in return. We decided we were making decisions from our flesh and that we could not abandon the church where the Lord placed us. We must be willing to suffer persecution.

I took a long sabbatical attempting to heal but the wounds will be forever and the damage is irreparable. I trusted those in that body to honor me, protect me, serve with me. Church was my safe place. That has been taken from me. Let this be a warning- Your words can do such great damage!

“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” James 3:5

None of these women ever used their words to edify me or build me up. Not one time did any of them approach me and say ”Lauran, we know you are a young pastor’s wife and have a huge responsibility as far as supporting your husband, teaching your Sunday school class, raising and homeschooling five children, so what can we do for you? How can we help you, serve you, pray for you?” Never was my name on their lips unless it was to condemn me. All I desired was support and prayers. I am under constant scrutiny. Demonstrate grace to me and devote yourself to prayer on our behalf. This was the absolute most hurtful, soul crushing thing that could happen to a pastor’s wife.

I have spent the last 2-3 weeks immersing myself in the Scripture and devoting myself to prayer. I was convinced the best thing to do was to begin praying for my attackers. That was a turning point for me. Letting go of my anger and trusting the Lord to deal with them and grant them repentance. Whether or not they change doesn’t matter because the Lord began to change and soften my heart through my prayers. I am still hurting. I am deeply wounded. The scars will last a lifetime. As will the scars from the previous church. Being in the ministry is the hardest job in the world. But my faith has increased. My husband and I have learned to be fully dependent upon Christ. We are seeking out godly counselors and mentors to help us and are taking some time away from the ministry during the month of August. It will be a long road of recovery ahead. I will end it with this brief exhortation-

1)Pray for those whom the Lord has placed over you in the ministry.

2) Demonstrate grace to others around you..sanctification is a process.

3) Go to a person directly if you have been hurt, have concerns, or believe them to be in sin.

4) Guard the words of your mouth. The damage cannot be undone.

5) Avoid any conversations that could lead to or cause division among the brethren.

6) Judge with righteous judgement. Don’t place your convictions regarding dress on another woman. (See my blog posts in here for my detailed blog on the topic of modesty as it pertains to Scripture)

7) Honor those who fear the Lord.

-To anyone who has messaged me to encourage me, recommend counselors, prayed for me, sent cards or gifts, you’ll never know how much that meant to me. Thank you.

In Christ, Lauran

The New covenant vs. The Old covenant

“The old covenant is the working arrangement that God had with Israel. He had chosen them for a special relationship that He did not have with any other group of people. He took a few Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) and grew their descendants into a great nation, gave them land, and His law to live by. (Exodus 20) He established a sacrificial system that would allow a temporary cleansing for sin, those sacrifices having to be repeated over and over again.”

Let’s go through 4 attributes of what made up the Old Covenant.

  1. They had temporary removal of sin. We’ve pretty much all read about the animal sacrifices and what they had to go through for removal of sin. Animals such as dove, goats, sheep and bulls were used. As a goat farmer myself, this is hard to swallow. Taking a life would be hard enough and especially one that is not an aggressive animal and has no defense mechanisms. And this sacrifice only promised a temporary cleansing. It had to be repeated. About one sixth of the laws under the Mosaic systempertained to sacrifices and offerings. And sometimes, very large numbers of animals were sacrificed. For the dedication of King Solomon’s temple, about 960 BC, the celebrants sacrificed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep over a two-week period. There were so many offerings that Solomon had to set up additional altars in the temple courtyard (1 Kings 8:63–65) The most specific sacrifice was once a year and referred to as “The day of atonement.” So you get the picture of how sin was dealt with under OT law. “Then he shall remove (A)all its fat, just as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offerings, and the priest shall offer [a]it up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the Lord. So (B)the priest shall make atonement for him regarding his sin which he has [b]committed, and he will be forgiven.” Leviticus 4:35
  2. Another major attribute of the OT system was that they did not have the ability to come directly into the presence of God.

“The Lord said to Moses:

“Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter (A)at [a]any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the [b]atoning cover which is on the ark, or he will die; for (B)I will appear in the cloud over the [c]atoning cover.” Leviticus 16:2

As for the Holy of Holies, the high priest could enter only once a year on the Day of Atonement, and only by offering a sacrifice. And he went in with a cord tied around his ankle in case he died there.

Notice how in the tabernacle, there are both barriers, separating the people from His holy presence, and a way made by grace to enter His presence. (The tabernacle points ahead to a greater tabernacle.)

3. The people did not have the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah 31-35

31 (BW)Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a (BX)new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,32 not like the (BY)covenant which I made with their fathers on the day I (BZ)took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My (CA)covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “For (CB)this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord: “(CC)I will put My law within them and write it on their heart; and (CD)I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will (CE)not teach again, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all (CF)know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will (CG)forgive their wrongdoing, and their (CH)sin I will no longer remember.”

I’ve heard it said that the Holy Spirit worked from “without” guiding and directing people within the Old Testament, but now works from “within”without departure during the new. We are given a promise He will never leave us like He did King Saul in the OT. God will cause His Spirit to indwell us forever and write His law on our hearts. (Note that the OT believers were saved the same as us, by grace through faith.)

4. There were conditions to be met by man to be in a covenant with God.

“Abraham’s responsibility: “Walk before me and be blameless. . . . This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised . . . . It will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.” – Gen. 17:1, 10-11

The OT sign of the covenant was circumcision. This was God’s pledge to cleanse their sins and to fulfill all his promises to them.

Now, let’s contrast the 4 attributes listed with the New Testament.

  1. In the NT covenant, we have permanent removal of sin.
    26 For it was fitting for us to have such a (A)high priest, (B)holy, (C)innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and (D)exalted above the heavens;27 who has no daily need, like those high priests, to (E)offer up sacrifices, (F)first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because He did this (G)once for all time when He (H)offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests (I)who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints (J)a Son, who has been (K)made perfect forever.” Hebrews 7:26-28

“But when Christ appeared as a (A)high priest of the (B)good things [a]having come, He enteredthrough (C)the greater and more perfect [b]tabernacle, (D)not made by hands, that is, (E)not of this creation; 12 and not through (F)the blood of goats and calves, but (G)through His own blood, He (H)entered the holy place (I)once for all time[c]having obtained (J)eternal redemption. 13 For if (K)the blood of goats and bulls, and (L)the [d]ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the [e]cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will (M)the blood of Christ, who through [f](N)the eternal Spirit (O)offered Himself without blemish to God, (P)cleanse your conscience from (Q)dead works to serve (R)the living God?” We no longer have to sacrifice animals for the temporary remission of sin because Christ is our spotless lamb and high priest once and for all!

2) We now have the ability to come directly to God the Father through Christ.

16 Therefore let’s (A)approach the throne of grace with (B)confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need.” Hebrews 4:16

God’s way into His presence was through the tabernacle which pictures Jesus Christ. Through Christ we now have access and He hears our prayers!

“And behold, (B)the [a]veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and (C)the earth shook and the rocks were split.” Matthew 27:51

Jesus is our high priest! “for through Him we both have (A)our access in (B)one Spirit to (C)the Father.” Ephesians 2:18

3. We now have the permanent indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [a](A)Helper, so that He may be with you forever; 17 the Helper is (B)the Spirit of truth, (C)whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you.” John 14:6-7

God’s glory through the cloud, now fulfilled in the Holy Spirit, showed His approval of the tabernacle. We are now that tabernacle!

The gift of the Spirit is a seal and a down payment on our heavenly inheritance, which Christ promised and secured for us at the cross. The Spirit has sealed us and no one can break that seal.
“who also (A)sealed us and (B)gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a [a]pledge.” 2 Corinthians 1:22
He confirms through His Spirit that we belong to Him.

“The Spirit Himself (A)testifies with our spirit that we are (B)children of God, 17 and if children, (C)heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, (D)if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:16-17

4. No conditions to be met by man. (It is also not transgressable.)

You might say well, there are conditions such as repentance and faith. True. Except this time, what God requires, He gives. Repentance and faith are gifts of God.

On repentance- “with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, (B)if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to (C)the knowledge of the truth,” 2 Timothy 2:25

On belief- “And when he wanted to go across to (A)Achaia, (B)the brothers encouraged him and wrote to (C)the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly [a]helped those who had believed through grace,” Acts 18:27

“Jesus answered and said to them, “This is (A)the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He (B)has sent.” John 6:29

God circumcises our heart of stone and writes His law on our hearts. This is done in a monergistic form without cooperation of the unregenerate sinner. This does not require baptism or any effort from the flesh on the part of man. “The three elements that make up the substance of the new covenant are works supremely operated by God and are presented in the indicative mood, not the conditional. None of these promises depends on a condition that had first to be met by man. The unconditional nature of this covenant makes it a radically new covenant.” Here’s what Thomas Patient said on it- “For as I have shown before, it is impossible that the new covenant can be broken because it is an absolute covenant made on no condition to be filled by the creature.” If the blessings of the New Covenant were guaranteed by Christ (Hebrews 7:22), how could one conceive, as do the Presbyterians, that the New Covenant was just as transgressable as the Old? The truth is that all members of the New Covenant WILL participate in the substance. Which consists of these three elements- 1) The law written on the heart (regeneration) 2) The personal and saving knowledge of God 3) The forgiveness of sins (which constitute the basis of the other two blessings and of the whole New Covenant)

“How when facing such affirmations, could one insert a dichotomy in the New Covenant by declaring that only a part of its new members would inherit its substance while another part would content itself with external blessings that are not mentioned anywhere in Scripture?” This is why the new covenant doesn’t allow for the paedo baptist view. But that is an argument for another day. I felt we should briefly address that view so we have a proper understanding of the new covenant and its unconditional nature.

In closing, I hope that you see after this blog that the New Covenant far exceeds the Old! We have so much to be thankful for.

“But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6

May we seek to glorify Christ for His grace and all that He has done! And I pray you are edified from having a better understanding of the covenants.

In Christ, Lauran

God’s selective grace and particular love

Does God love everyone? Does God show grace to all men?

Have you ever really pondered the idea about how you chose your spouse? There were many fish in the sea, many with admirable traits. But out of all the other human beings in the world, you decided to marry and spend forever with that certain individual. And only because you thought they were worthy of your love and possessed something you wanted. Now think about God and His choosing you for salvation. It is quite remarkable. God choosing to set His love on an individual. There was no good in you. No worthiness. No holiness or something that set you apart from the others. You were just as lost and miserable as the rest.

The word “foreknow” as used in Romans 8:29 is used as a verb and “speaks of a predetermined choice to set His love on an individual and establish an intimate relationship.” (John MacArthur)

A friend recently told me ”God’s selective grace is beautiful.” And you know what is so crazy about that? The majority don’t see it that way. Usually when this topic is brought up, the glorious beauty of it is not spoken of but you hear things like “You mean God doesn’t choose everyone?!” Instead of marveling on the fact God chose to save any men. We are all deserving of hell and the wrath of God. Many view this truth as offensive, cruel, and unfair. Augustine says this- “Since man of himself can do nothing good, all power to do good must be the free gift of God, that is “grace.” Out of the mass of the fallen race God chooses some to receive this grace.” I recently memorized Ephesians 1. It amazed me to see how many times the kindness of God is talked about related to the doctrine of election.

“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,..” Ephesians 1:5

“Thinking on the topic of God’s love, with the exception of John 3:16, not once in the four Gospels do we read of the Lord Jesus telling sinners that God loved them. In the book of Acts, which records the evangelistic labors and messages of the apostles, God’s love is never referred to at all! The first thing to note in connection with John 3:16 is that our Lord was there speaking to Nicodemus- a man who believed that God’s mercies were confined to his own nation. “God so loved the world” signifies God’s love is international in scope. In other words, this was Christ’s announcement that God had a purpose of grace toward Gentiles, as well as Jews. This does not mean that God loves every single individual.” -A.W.Pink

Let me ask you a question. If it’s true that God loves every member of the human family then why did our Lord tell his disciples in John 14:21- “The one who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and (B)the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will (C)reveal Myself to him.”

Or how about Proverbs 8:17? ”I love those who love me, and those who seek me early shall find me.”

And we know that love is described as “keeping no record of wrongs”in 1 Corinthians 13:5 yet those who are thrown in hell are put there because their wrongs/sins have been held against them. They have not had the slate wiped clean and their wrongs pardoned by Christ. He has kept record of their wrongs.

Bottom line- God shows love and mercy to whom He chooses. (Romans 9:16) While there may be a general love for His creation, it is not the same as His particular, saving love for the elect. So many wrongly judge God instead of praising Him for this glorious truth! He could rightfully have chosen to send all mankind to hell since we have all fallen short of the glory of God and deserve His wrath (Romans 3:23)

If you have fallen into this category of misjudging God for His right to show grace and love to certain individuals, two things are in order.

  1. Repent. Repent for judging God’s lovingkindness as harsh or unfair. There is only one reason we take this view and that is pride. Pride won’t let us acknowledge that God has every right to choose some and not all. “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
  2. Ask the Lord for wisdom regarding this truth. Ask Him to open your eyes. Go to the Scripture and see if this is not truth. God chose Israel. God chose His prophets. God chose His disciples. And God chose whom He would save before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) It is His prerogative to do so. He is sovereign over all souls.
  1. Here are some passages to help your studies- “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’sown possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” 1 Peter 2:9 “just as (A)He chose us in Him before (B)the foundation of the world, that we would be (C)holy and blameless before [a]Him. (D)In love5 [b]He (E)predestined us to (F)adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, (G)according to the good pleasure of His will,” Ephesians 1:4-5 But we should always give thanks to God for you, (B)brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because (C)God has chosen you [a]from the beginning (D)for salvation [b](E)through sanctification [c]by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13
    Let us gather together in thanksgiving to the Lord and openly praise Him for His sovereign grace, His choosing of us, His particular love, our redemption, and that He will keep us until the end.

Women stop forcing your husbands to have vasectomies

Did the title get your attention? This may be a touchy subject but I’m willing to broach it. I have talked to way too many women who have either forced their husbands to get a vasectomy or have made them feel guilty for not getting one. I want to briefly discuss this in the following blog.

So, the argument goes like this ”Babe, you should get a vasectomy since we are done having kids and it is easier for the man to get snipped than for the woman to have her tubes tied.” The husband then explains how he doesn’t want anyone snipping on his manhood. The wife grows angry that he won’t comply and tells him he is being selfish and the husband sheepishly complies and makes the appointment. There are many things wrong with this scenario.

First, children are a blessing from the Lord.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3

What is your motivation for cutting off these blessings? Have you prayed through this? As Voddie Baucham puts it, ”We don’t tell God to stop blessing us in our finances, or our friends, or businesses so why are we so quick to try to shut off His blessings in the area of children?” This is something that should be prayed through and the decision made together as husband and wife.

Secondly, there are risks with a vasectomy. Studies show men in their older age are more likely to have prostate problems if they have had a vasectomy. No such risk applies for women who have had their tubes tied. I’ve even read studies of men having more mental issues down the road after going through a vasectomy. “The evidence suggests that the process may also be associated with by psychological complications, including depression, irritability and somatic symptoms15.” These side effects should be considered. And to be honest, men just don’t want their manhood being cut on. And I can’t blame them one bit. See this article for more info regarding the risks-

Third, who is really leading the family if your husband gets ”forced” into having one? The Scripture is clear on man being the head of a woman.

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3

Are you really going to assume it’s honoring to the Lord to guilt trip your husband into something he doesn’t want to do? Certainly this is one of the most important decisions you will make as a couple and your husband should lead the way, not you. I assure you, if your husband goes to get a vasectomy because you ”made him” then the surgery is not what affected his ”manhood” but is indicative of his inability to lead by letting you make the decisions. I think it is harder to respect a man who won’t put his foot down when we try to lead with our emotions and make the decisions. My husband straight out of the gate told me ”I won’t get one and you won’t make me get one.” I respect him for that. It would be sinful of me to try to manipulate him or force him in any way after he made it clear how he feels about the procedure.

I hope that you will consider these points I’ve made regarding making the choice about child bearing and vasectomies. Pray through this. Don’t do something you will regret by closing the door on the blessing of more children. Let your husband lead the way as far as making the decisions in this area. May Christ be glorified through your submission!

22 (AV)Wives, (AW)subject yourselves to your own husbands, (AX)as to the Lord. 23 For (AY)the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the (AZ)head of the church, He Himself (BA)being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-24

Defy the culture and bring glory to biscuit at a time.

How a woman’s role is important in the most simple of tasks.

These may just look like an ordinary pan of biscuits. However, these are 15 years of practicing to make the perfect buttermilk biscuit for my family. I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t this a theology page? What does this have to do with the Scripture? I’m getting there.

I have this innate joy that God has given me from being in my kitchen. Making food for those I love is most joyous and fulfilling. While everyone is constantly saying the world is better served by women who go out and pursue degrees as doctors, VP’s, and professors, the Scripture teaches us that there is no better place for them than in the home. This design is clearly laid out over and over again in the Bible- that the woman was created for the man, that her husband is her head, that she has responsibility for raising up her children, and that her place is in the home. Beginning in Genesis, discussed in Proverbs and on into the New Testament, we see the glorious plan God has for women. Not one of drudgery, but of joy. Your husband has a leadership role to play in society and in the church and us women have a supportive role. This role is ever so important to the family unit. There is nothing that gives glory to God quite like a woman who manages her home well. She is not idle, she cares for the members of her household, she always looks to the needs of her husband and does so without complaining. Oh how I pray to be this type of woman!

The consequences of not taking care of your home are also given. The Word tells us in Titus 2:5- “to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” The Word of God is dishonored when we claim we believe it, but don’t live it out. God and His Word are glorified when we obey and are faithful to our roles as women. How can we claim to believe Titus 2:11 (For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,) but then neglect Titus 2:5? We must strive to obey ALL of what is written. That starts by embracing our roles as caretakers of the home. A woman in her home is beautiful. A woman who is subject to her husband without complaint is honorable. The world exalts women who pursue their careers and education at the cost of their families. But what does God say? “For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

Don’t look at your role as just making biscuits. You are bringing glory to Christ every time you demonstrate to the world that you prioritize your family and your role as ”caretaker of the home.” So reject what the modern culture says regarding a woman’s place, embrace your role, and make those biscuits to the glory of God!

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 27:25

Me and my crew!

Here is one of my favorite easy recipes-

Christianity and the narrow, lonely path

I have been in the ministry now for close to 17 years. I started out teaching youth around the age of 20-21. The Lord saved me around that time after a devastating car accident left me in bed and out of work for over a month. I was stuck at home reading the Scripture when I was born again. The Lord had sovereignly ordained that wreck. I had the testimony of many of you who had walked the aisle, prayed a prayer, got baptized, and then went on to live a godless life without bearing any fruit. Thankfully, God began to draw me at age 20, revealing to me that I was not truly born again. Something miraculous happened after that. He gave me a new heart with new desires. (Ezekiel 36:26) I immediately had the desire to read, understand, teach, and follow the Scripture. The Lord began teaching me truth and I began to speak out whenever I could. I began seminary to get a degree in Christian education. It was there I met my husband, Kevin, who was also pursuing a degree and was called to ministry. We were quickly married and began our lives together in the ministry. Here is a pic from our early years- (As of today, he is still in seminary getting his DMIN)

I want to share with you my struggles as the Lord has sanctified me in the hopes of encouraging you who may be suffering or experiencing the same difficulties.

“who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

I am an introvert by nature, but I have no problem carrying on a conversation with strangers, especially if it is related to theology. But I prefer just to be in my room alone with a good book in hand. Socializing is very draining to me. But I have been given a love for the brethren and sometimes that requires dying to myself and fellowshipping in public events on a regular basis. Being a pastor’s wife, you don’t exactly have the option of being a loner. I have been a part of 4 different baptist churches with my husband over a period of 15 years. The path along the way has been filled with difficulties, betrayal, heartache and hatred from those around you. To be perfectly honest, the friendships along the way have been rare and at most points, nonexistent. Many church members who started off acting like my friend have come against me, betrayed my trust, slandered me, spread lies about me, publicly attacked me on social media, and spread horrible rumors about me to other church members. I have shed many tears over the hurt caused by those who betrayed me and over the fact that the narrow road is often filled with heartache and sadness. This verse often brings me comfort-

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3

Jesus had a hard life when he walked on this earth. Despised and rejected by men, kicked out of towns, betrayed by his intimate followers, laughed at by the religious, many attempts to stone or kill him, and ultimately being crucified on the cross in an agonizing death. The apostle Paul describes his life in much the same way.

“because a great door for effective work has opened to me, even though many oppose me.” 1 Corinthians 16:9

“At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me.” 2 Timothy 4:16

We see Paul often beaten, deserted, and alone. The life of a follower of Christ is often described in this way. You are very often lonely and misunderstood. True friends who are like the Scripture says “iron sharpening iron” will be rare. We must continue to fix our eyes upon Christ and know He will give us the strength to persevere even when all those around us have turned away. He uses these times to draw us to Himself and show us His grace is sufficient.

I am thankful the Lord has provided me with a great support system in my husband. He is a source of strength and encouragement in these times, giving me Scripture and pep talk to spur me on. But even he is not able to supply me with the strength to persevere. This can only come from the Spirit. I consider it an honor to suffer for Christ on a regular basis. Most of the time, it’s those within the church and those you consider friends that are the one’s who will attack. King David experienced this kind of betrayal-

12For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;Then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, And  walked to the house of God in the throng.” Psalm 55:12-14

I’ve been attacked for my theology, my firm stance on Scripture, speaking on the doctrine of election, my views on women in the home, and as of recent, my manner of dress. Apparently there is a certain code of dress for pastor’s wives that I failed to meet. Back in October of 2021, at least 4 women, 2 of whom I had become close with and were also pastor’s wives decided to publicly shame me over my manner of dress. Multiple women had found issue with my very modest, fully covering swimsuit or the length of my shorts. None took the care to go to me privately and rebuke me, but instead, attempted to discredit me and assault my character online. These who attack will attempt to find anything to try to shame, mock, or discredit you. My facebook posts have been used against me more times than I can name. Let me point out, that never have these attacks been due to any type of open sin in my life. And if there was sin that needed to be confronted, it should be done privately, out of love, by a brother or sister in Christ. These times where I have had public reproach brought to my name have been a clear contradiction to how Scripture says we should treat our brethren.

A Psalm of David.

“Lord, who may reside in Your tent?
Who may settle on Your holy hill?
One who walks with integrity, practices righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
He does not slander [a]with his tongue,
Nor do evil to his neighbor,
Nor bring shame on his friend;
A despicable person is despised in his eyes,
But he honors those who fear the Lord;
He takes an oath to his own detriment, and does not change;
He does not [b]lend his money [c]at interest,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
One who does these things will never be shaken.

As you can see, according to Psalm 15, bringing reproach or shame to a friend or another Christian, has no place in the life of a believer. As I mentioned earlier, if a believer is caught in sin, we have clear instructions given to us in Matthew 18.

15 m“If your brother sins against you, ngo and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established pby the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, qtell it to the church . And if he refuses to listen even to the church, rlet him be to you as sa Gentile and sa tax collector.

Notice none of this involves public shaming on social media. We are to honor those who fear the Lord, taking very seriously the role of protecting their character and reputation. I am very careful about condemning God’s elect and respecting their position in ministry. We would do well to protect those in Christ, not attempt to discredit them. I will briefly tell you of a time at our last church. I began noticing a few women acting differently towards me. Finally after a few months, I was able to have a conversation with one of the women. She confessed that the youth minister and his wife, whom we gad been close friends with, had been ”poisoning her mind” with lies about me for months. When confronted at the church, they both denied it though we had witnesses and neither have repented to this day. The scars from that one went deep and it was so hard to transition to another church after that kind of hurt and betrayal. I tell you these stories because Scripture says ”the godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Though its hard, its an honor to suffer as our Lord did.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14

I pray that in seeing these passages about our Lord and how his apostles and those who belong to Him struggled will give you great comfort. Renew your mind in the Scripture daily. You may be experiencing these types of attacks at this very moment. I also pray this will convict you about being a loyal friend to your brethren. Pray for them, love them, protect them. We must continue to fix our eyes on Christ and recognize that the road of His followers is lonely and filled with hurt. But the joy of knowing Christ surpasses any worldly troubles you may have! We have one sure comfort, Christ who is always faithful, never changing, will never fail us or abandon us. Glory to God for that!

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by pvarious trials, 7 so that qthe tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes rthough it is tested by sfire—may be found to result in tpraise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

Much love in Christ, Lauran


Your favorite blonde theologian is now a brunette😁( attached a pic).Stay tuned this week for my blog on friendships and the lonely path and next week will be on reprobation-Is God active or passive? Merry Christmas to my brethren in here!

In Christ, Lauran

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

The greatest gift

James 1:17- Every good thing given and ever perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

I love celebrating Christmas. It is such a joyous time in my household. But as with all good things, there is the tendency to get caught up in the things of the world and before you know it, it becomes a holiday devoid of bringing glory to Christ. I want us to stop for a moment and renew our minds with the Scriptures that teach us why we should be so thankful during this season. How often do we caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday and neglect to think on these things? I pray the Lord will use these Scriptures to stir up within you a spirit of gratitude for all we have in Christ. Let’s examine some Scripture in regard to the gifts we have through Him.

The first area is the gift of The Savior and His Sacrifice.

“For since the law has but va shadow wof the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, xit can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But yin these sacrifices zthere is a reminder of sins every year. For ait is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 

Consequently, bwhen Christ1 came into the world, he said, 

c“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, 

but a body have you prepared for me; 

  in burnt offerings and sin offerings 

you have taken no pleasure. 

  Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, 

as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’ ” 

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in csacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, d“Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will ewe have been sanctified through the offering of fthe body of Jesus Christ gonce for all.”

As this passage teaches us, it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to wash away all of our sins and put us in right standing with God. We had to have a perfect sacrifice, God in flesh, who lived a sinless life, as of a lamb without blemish or spot, to die in our place. He bore the wrath and punishment for ours sins. This Biblical concept is what we refer to as ”penal substitutionary atonement.” God either punishes the sins of the person in the body of that person or in the substitute. God, being a just God, couldn’t just pardon whoever He wanted without dealing with their sin. Sin had to be dealt with and God demands retribution. We all rightly deserve hell.

Much more then, having now been justified [a]by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved [b]by His life. 11 And not only this, but [c]we also celebrate in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 5:9-11

The sacrifice of our savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to die on our behalf, should leave us in a state of never ending praise!

The second area we should be thankful for is the gift of saving faith.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9”

As A.W. Pink says ”We are saved ”by” our faith, not ”for” our faith. We cannot muster up faith from our flesh or even the will to believe.

So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” Romans 9:16

Because we are dead in sin, we must be brought to life by the Spirit and given the gift of faith. This requires no cooperation from our unregenerate nature and is not the picture often painted that teaches salvation is a gift and you just have to do your part and open it. This is dangerous since it teaches synergistic salvation; you do your part and God does His. Remember, dead men cannot do anything! Salvation is all of God and must seen that way so that He receives all the glory.

“being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,” Romans 3:24

Charles Spurgeon once said ”If I have Christ and nothing else, I have everything.” If you have been given the gift of saving faith, you should thank God for it every chance you get. You should honor Him and show gratitude by living a holy life devoted to serving Him. We were enemies, outcasts, children of wrath, having darkened minds, alienated. But now He calls us friend, children of God, we have fellowship with him, brought into the light, given understanding, and we are justified before God. Hallelujah!

The third area is the gift of sanctification.

13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to [a]desire and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

Paul tells us in Romans 7 that nothing good comes from our flesh. The ability to fight sin and perform righteous deeds are from the Spirit within us. To sanctify means to ”set apart.” From the time we are born again, until we die or the Lord returns, He is sanctifying us and making us more like Christ. We should be able to look back over the course of our lives and see a pattern of obedience and growth in the Scripture. We should be more like Christ than we were a year ago. When the Holy Spirit indwells a person, He does not save a person and leave them the same for 10, 20, 30 years with an elementary understanding of the Scripture. You should see growth in your understanding and character as the Lord sanctifies you. Sanctification is Monergistic and God will sanctify His own. If it was synergistic, we would have reason to boast for our good deeds. When someone compliments us for a good deed, we should reply with ”Not I, but Christ in me.”

The fourth and final area is the gift of security (or perseverance.)

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work [a]among you will complete it [b]by the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

As Voddie Baucham says ”If I could lose my salvation, I would.” If it were up to us to stay saved, we couldn’t do it. It is all of God, from start to finish. He is the author and perfecter of our faith as Hebrews tells us. Aren’t you thankful its not up to us to stay saved?! John Calvin in the Institutes of the Christian Religion says Adam in the book of Genesis was given all things, even intimacy with God, but He wasn’t given the gift of perseverance and that is why he fell. Once you a have been given the gift of faith, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit and kept by God. This is the doctrine known as the perseverance of the saints. You cannot lose justification and Christ’s righteousness is forever imputed to you. No man can snatch you away. Not one of God’s elect will be lost.

“For the gifts and pthe calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29

God does not take back His gift of faith and change His mind. We have security in that God will finish what He started. It wasn’t a decision that saved us, but God Almighty. What a great gift we have been given!

I hope this blog has been a brief reminder that has stirred up a spirit of gratefulness for all we have in Christ! And if you are reading this and you don’t know if you belong to Him, I pray the Holy Spirit draw you, grant you repentance, and give you saving faith. Cry out as the tax collector in Luke 18- “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner!”

Merry Christmas from my family to yours. May Christ be glorified!

Modesty- what’s the real take according to Scripture? 

Alright folks..lets be honest. Somewhere along the way, the idea was put forth that women can’t be godly unless they are fully covered from below the knee to the neck. All displaying of beauty is sin and we need to dress with the mindset that if we reveal any part of our female shape, it will cause men to sin. I think the reason I feel so strongly about this is because there is something glorious about women being women, being feminine, displaying beauty, softness, curves and clothing that accents these differences and it is becoming evident that femininity itself is under attack. Why can’t beauty in women be acknowledged? The common belief is godliness equals plain, frumpy, and loose fitting, unfashionable clothes. The church may not believe that it has bought into Satan’s lies in this area but it clearly has. There is so much out there on the topic of modesty. How can a Christian woman make sense of it? What can help her align with Scripture? I wrote this blog for that purpose. To help give give some clarity to my sisters in Christ. A recent post about this on facebook brought much flack and heated feedback. It can be a touchy subject because everyone has different views. Allow me to start by sharing my personal story with you. Not because it has authority in helping us determine our standard of modesty, but because it will give you an idea as to where my thinking on this topic first originated.

I grew up in a very conservative, Baptist household, though it wasn’t as strict as some of the fundamental Baptist and Pentecostal backgrounds. We were allowed to wear pants, shorts and skirts, even skirts on the cheer team, but they had certain lengths that were appropriate and they had to be almost to the knee to be acceptable. I’m not alluding to the fact that these type of rules were necessarily detrimental, other than the Arminian theology and merit based rules that were put in place along with it, but that there were certain standards in place at an early age. There were certain rules pertaining to our appearance. No earrings or piercings until the age of 12, no double piercings ever, no skirts above the knee, bermuda shorts had to go to a certain length, and no hair dye until the age of 16. Now where, I ask, did the standards come from? Were the standards from within the word of God? Now for clarity, let me add that I’m quite sure my parents had good motives and wanted the best for me when enforcing these rules. However, when laying down these standards and guidelines, the fact of the matter is, none of these were specified within the Scripture. Let’s look at what is specified in the Word of God regarding modesty because man’s opinion has no authority.

Pic of me from highschool hair and bangs 😁

Let’s look at some verses about modesty and break these down. Some verses that mention ”modesty” are 1 Timothy 2:10-11, Peter 3:3-4 and Proverbs 11:22 talks about women and discretion. The Greek word for modest is kosmioi, which means “respectable, honorable.” Definition of modesty- behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency. What is the definition of impropriety? Definition -improper or inappropriate, morally or sexually offensive, dirtiness, filth, impureness. After examining those definitions, let’s move on to break down 1 Timothy. The context is all about a woman adorning herself for worship. Behaviorally, she must receive instruction quietly and with all submission to her elders. She is not to flaunt her wealth, independence, or body in such a way that leads to her glorification, rather than God’s, who is to be the center of our worship and focus. Holy worship is required on the Lord’s day and worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. We’ve established a dress code for days of worship and given a few guidelines according to Scripture in the corporate assembly, now let’s look at every day standards of modesty.

I am under the firm belief that many of the imposed rules on women’s dress are merely based on tradition and not scripture. We must be able to discern between the two. Scripture trumps tradition and man made rules turn into legalism and Pharisaical behavior. I do not believe that every time a woman puts on a pair of leggings her desire is to bring about impropriety and indecency and lure men into a sexual trap. I’m aware I’m probably in the minority here regarding leggings. But the Scripture says where there is no law there is no transgression (Romans 4:15) and there is no law regarding the wearing of leggings. Leggings fully cover the thigh and the whole entire leg but why take such issue with the fact that it may show the outline of a woman’s shape? Where do we get the idea that a woman cannot dress in such a way to accent her natural, feminine features without it being sin? If we were to take first Timothy 2:9 at face value, without studying context, then that would mean all women are forbidden to wear braids or any type of gold. (P.S. There is no mention of leggings in this passage or Scripture whatsoever.) We have to dig deeper into this passage to find out what the braided hair and gold signified. What is the context here?

The whole point of this passage is to have women who demonstrate submission and not flaunting themselves, but instead they are meek, listening, and demonstrating godliness instead of desiring to be sexually attractive and alluring to the men. I’m sure you’ve all heard the story of the background and how women in the first century were using these elaborate hairstyles of braids, gold and jewels to draw attention to themselves and were therefore distracting from the preaching of the Word of God. This is actually very similar to the story we are given of those who were at the temple and using it for profit and turned it into a market place. The women were using the corporate assembly of worship as a fashion show instead of demonstrating willingness to come and learn from the elders and men of the church. So what is the logical conclusion here? Should we come to church in burlap sacks and shoes that have holes in them to prove we are poor and not flaunting any wealth? Let’s examine another passage in order to help us reach a solid conclusion.

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 – NKJV

So here, Peter is clearly not condemning all external adornment. As John MacArthur puts it “his condemnation is for incessant preoccupation with the outward to the disregard of one’s character.” Purity of life is what to is to be the dominant attribute. Yet somehow the legalists and those who are self righteous have taken it to the extreme, implying we must not wear any jewelry, any make up, and our clothing must be plain and of solid material. So why does Scripture not lay out specific standards? For instance, 2 inches above the knee for a skirt? No abdomen should show and no leggings ever? Or don’t wear any form fitting clothing? ( I, for one, will not wear loose baggy pants that make it virtually impossible to tell if I’m a woman or a man.) Then, we have the absolute double standard of swimsuits. It’s like this- if a body of water is present, you may show your thigh. But if no body of water is present, “make sure your shorts and skirts come below the knee.” This type of inconsistency is so prevalent in the church. One woman is deemed holier for her length of shorts compared to the other one. Honestly, I think it would be helpful if we had more exact guidelines in the Bible because then there would be no gray area. But God, in his infinite wisdom, chose not to lay out specific standards for dress. And even in the context of Scripture, the word “modesty” itself is quite ambiguous. So this brings me to my point..that you must acknowledge there is a subjective nature when it comes to modesty. Unless you are Amish or Mennonite, and have specific guidelines for your dress, along with a specific pattern, then you have to acknowledge it will vary amongst different believers. I can comfortably wear a swimsuit without my conscience condemning me, whereas there may be some who feel the need to wear swimsuits with more coverage or longer shorts.

Me, in my modest swimsuit apparel that was approved by my husband.😁

So, let’s talk about “principles“ versus “regulations” or “standards” that are given in Scripture. Here is a good example- Let’s say I come to you and say “I can make a biblical case that you should cut your grass and take care of your home” then that would be a true statement. I can use Scripture to back that up using the principles of not being slothful and being good stewards of your possessions. If, however, I came to you and say “you should cut your grass every week or that is sinful,” then that would not be scriptural and I would be adding to Scripture. This is the same idea regarding modesty. I cannot go to a woman and tell her she is in sin for wearing a skirt that is 2 inches above the knee. I cannot go to woman and tell her that her shorts are sinful because they are more than 2 inches above the knee. Why? Because there are no set standards regarding short/skirt length in Scripture. Any idea that I have regarding modesty and exact standards are based on my own conscience and if married, based on my husband and what he says is acceptable or a woman who is not married will have guidelines based on her father and his standards.

So how do we examine some standards regarding modesty? There needs to be some type of rule or guiding principles so that we are not all over the place regarding our dress and bringing shame upon the name of Christ. Let’s look at how to evaluate. The first standard we are told in Scripture to use regarding modesty is the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit often brings conviction when we are wearing something that may be sinful. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.“ Ephesians 4:30 We should be careful to follow the convictions we have been given and not attempt to demonstrate impropriety or indecency. It’s common knowledge that certain parts of our bodies are to be reserved for our husbands alone. The sexual organs, such as lower reproductive organs/private areas and the breasts are included in this. So a low cut blouse that reveals the breast and skirts that allow men to clearly see all the way up them, should obviously be considered sinful. Also, there are swimsuits in which the rear is completely exposed as well as the breast and I can not see not see how one can wear this in a public setting with a clear conscience. I do believe, regarding most clothing, that it is a Romans 14 issue, where each Christian must go on their own conscience ( Whatever is not of faith is sin Romans 14:23) unless as I specified, private areas that are reserved for your mate are clearly exposed. Should we ask ourselves when choosing an outfit “will this make a guy lust or desire me?” No, there are probably weird perverted men who are turned on by ankles so this isn’t a valid standard. While you should always be considerate of anything that causes a brother to stumble, your question should be more like ”What is my motive for wearing this?” Your motives should always be to glorify Christ with your attire. Men who lust are clearly held responsible for their sin according to Scripture and the blame is not placed on the woman.

The women who I have known that are in trapped by this burden of legalism/tradition and the imaginary standards that are not found in Scripture are many in number. Not to mention, there is almost a double standard for the attractive woman, always being projected as the villain if someone dare gives her a second glance” it must be “because of her outfit” and clearly she is trying to draw attention to herself. Look at the description of Esther-“ He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.“ Esther 2:7 Did you catch that? She had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at..Wow. Bet all of the Baptist fundy’s would have shaken their finger and given her judgement for having such a nice figure and for allowing it to be seen. How in the world would people know she had a nice figure and was lovely to look at if she didn’t somewhat accent and display that beauty?

Somehow it has been assumed that the area of Christian liberty does not pertain to our standard of dress. But I argue that it does. If your conscience condemns you, don’t wear it. There have been many times I’ve put on an outfit only to take it off because I felt it was not glorifying to God. Dress in a manner that honors God and your spouse. This brings me to my second principle for helping us evaluate our clothing.

And that is simply this- Submit to your authority figure. If you are a single woman, this is your father.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.“ Ephesians 6:1

If you are a married woman, this is your husband.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.“ Ephesians 5:22

Dress in a way that pleases your husband, knowing the type of clothing that is appropriate for worship vs. casual settings or in the home. Honor your husband’s guidelines. I’m grateful my husband has given me much freedom in this area. He will speak up if he sees something I’m wearing that he deems immodest and it is my duty to submit. I come from a history of fashion modeling and showing off your body and trying to sell your body was hard wired into my brain. The Holy Spirit had to do a major work on my mind and definitely convicted me of much of my wardrobe. I will be the first to admit that the Lord is still sanctifying me in this area.

Dressing up is the norm for me most days and my husband prefers black pants 😁

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.“ Proverbs 11:22

Definition of discretion- not causing offense, deciding what should be done in a particular situation according to one’s own judgement.

A woman should display discretion in her dress, speech and behavior. This is the opposite of a giddy, careless woman who doesn’t think about her words or actions and how they represent Christ. There are certain times we can be more laid back in our dress and speech. The gathering of the saints for corporate worship is not one of them. We should put in effort to look nice for worship on the Lord’s day and not to be a distraction. Obviously, clothing like shorts,gym clothes/ leggings and swimsuits that could be worn in other settings are not appropriate and would demonstrate a lack of discretion if worn for worship. We must use proper clothing in the proper place. I am a runner and often training for long distance races outside. Loose fitting clothing chaffs you and longer shorts slow you down. I dress in a practical way that will enable me to run well which is usually athletic shorts, leggings, and a fitted tank. The setting determines your clothing choice.

When evaluating our own dress, we should not use our own personal convictions to condemn our sisters in Christ who may have slightly different standards. We each are in different stages of sanctification and the Spirit convicts us as He wishes. I firmly believe that the only time another sister in Christ should be rebuked in this area is if she is using her body and dress for sexual sin, fornication/adultery, or she is intentionally dressing in a way that is a distraction during corporate worship.

“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For wwe will all stand before xthe judgment seat of God;“ Romans 14:10

I vividly remember being invited to a splash pad with some of my sisters in Christ. At the splash pad I noticed that several of their daughters were wearing two piece swimsuits, as well as some of the moms. I quickly condemned them in my heart out of self righteous judgment. Knowing that these women love the Lord and walked in the spirit, I was still willing to judge them by my own standards. God forbid we treat our brethren in this manner! This is the exact type of self righteousness that the Pharisee’s demonstrated. They ignored the weightier matters, like correct doctrine and a right relationship with Christ, to focus on the external appearance. They sought the approval of men, as many of these self righteous women do, who love to flaunt their modesty as a means to elevate themselves and their holiness. In discipling my four daughters, I know that instilling in them a love for the Word of God is a much more sure way to keep them from the dangers of fornication than teaching them about the dangers of wearing shorts or tank tops. May we grant those around us with grace as the Lord so graciously deals with us. Let us all press on towards knowing Christ and glorifying Him in all things. Display our feminine beauty in a way that brings Him much glory..May we honor Christ with our clothing and go to Scripture alone for our standards. Soli Deo Gloria!

Psalm 119:2-3 ”Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart— 3 they do no wrong but follow his ways.“

Examining fruit- how can you tell the goat from the sheep? The true believer from the unbeliever?

I remember being taught early on that we should never make a judgement call on someone else’s salvation. If they tell you they are saved, take them at their word and don’t question it. In fact, if they go to church regularly, don’t question their regeneration. Imagine my surprise after studying the Scripture to learn that not only can we make a judgement call, we are supposed to make a distinction between believers and unbelievers. How can we come to this conclusion? The Word of God tells us how to do it.

You will recognize them lby their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, mevery healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 nEvery tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into thefire. 20 Thus you will recognize them lby their fruits.“ Matthew 7:16-20

As Dr. John MacArthur says ”False doctrine cannot restrain the flesh.” Unbelievers are good pretenders but they cannot bear good fruit and restrain the flesh without the Spirit.

We as true believers and followers of Christ have to be discerning as to who is genuine and not who is not. Why is this necessary? Multiple reasons. So that we will not have relationships with those who are bad company and corrupt our good morals, so that we will not be unequally yoked and so that we can discern the true teachers from the false teachers. Lets look at some passages that back this up.

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.“ Matthew 7:6

14 zDo not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For awhat partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or bwhat fellowship has light with darkness? 15 cWhat accord has Christ with Belial?2 Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For dwe are the temple of the living God; as God said, 

e“I will make my dwelling among them and fwalk among them, and gI will be their God, 

and they shall be my people. 

 17  Therefore hgo out from their midst, 

and be separate from them, says the Lord, 

and touch no unclean thing; 

then I will welcome you, 

 18  iand I will be a father to you, 

and you shall be sons and daughters to me, 

says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

33 yDo not be deceived: z“Bad company ruins good morals.”4 1 Corinthians 15:33

“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.” 2 John 1:10-11

“Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man,  25  lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” Proverbs 22:24-25

Do you not know that bthe saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall cjudge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?” 1 Corinthians 6:2-3

I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.“ 2 John 1:7-10

But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone nwho bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.“ 1 Corinthians 5:11

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.” John 14:21

As we see throughout the Scripture, we have to be able to discern believers in Christ and those who are not. We must be able to ”test the Spirits” as it teaches in 1 John 4 and determine who is teaching doctrine contrary to Scripture. I want to help you in this blog by walking through some helpful guidelines and tips of discernment. The Scripture gives us characteristics of those who belong to Christ and those who belong to the enemy. We need to know who to evangelize and who to fellowship with, those of darkness vs. those in the light. Lets look at the characteristics you can find in a Christian.

  1. Christians are not divisive amongst the brethren.

Have you ever known someone who just thrives on division? They get a thrill from gossiping or talking negatively about others? They are controversial just for the sake of being controversial? There are many of these types within the church.

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.“ Romans 16:17

This is totally different than dividing over error and doctrine. There should be division when we stand for truth without compromise. “for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.“ 1 Corinthians 11:19

“Do not think that I have come tobring peace to the earth. sI have not come to bring peace, but a sword. “ Matthew 10:34

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.“ Proverbs 6:16-19

Jesus himself acknowledges that truth divides and the gospel is offensive, however, this is different than those causing unnecessary division. The immediate result of the gospel is frequently conflict. How many of you have had strained relationships with close family members over your beliefs? I imagine all of you have at some point. The Christian life is not conflict free. But there is a difference between those who live for conflict and those who experience conflict for proclaiming the gospel and the word of God. Brethren, do not be discouraged if you experience this type of conflict because the Scripture says this will happen if you stand for Christ. I’m warning you to be on guard against those who stir up division amongst the brother over petty issues, secondary doctrinal truths, and slander or gossip about other Christians. 15 years of ministry has taught us when you stand on Biblical truths, such as predestination and election, this will most assuredly divide the sheep from the goats. Those who are carnal in mind attempt to cause division over these truths. These types of pretenders make it their goal to cause conflict and strife and do not strive to be peacemakers as Matthew 5 tells us we should be. This is a huge red flag that we should take note of when examining others who claim to follow Christ.

2) True Christians will proclaim the clear truth whatever the cost. They love the truth, they speak the truth, and are willing to fight for the truth. They aren’t wanting to play to both sides and speak out of both sides of their mouth. Those who are men pleasers and not desiring to speak God’s Word but to please those around them and cater to both sides, should be called to examine themselves. These are similar to the ones in Titus 1:16 that profess to know God by their mouth, but deny him by their works. “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.“

Lets look at some clear passages of God’s views related to truth and righteousness.

“Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity..” Hebrew 1:9

hWhoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30

How much gray is in these passages? Think of Joel Osteen going on these talk shows, Lauren Daigle regarding homosexuality when appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres show and how they avoid truth and won’t give a clear cut answer. Those who are not born again will not take a clear stance on any topic of sin.

Christians, however, hate sin and lawlessness and speak out against it. it is like a fire within our bones if we do not speak out against the things that God hates.

Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.”But His word was in my heart like a kburning fire, shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And lI could not.” Jeremiah 20:9

There are those in our life who are silent about sin, and fearful of men and must be called to examine themselves. A person who is born again will die to self and proclaim the truth no matter what the cost. A peacemaker in the scripture is someone who makes peace among the brethren, not attempting to make peace with the world and compromise truth.

3) Christians honor Christ with their words and glorify him with their lives.

When you speak with a Christian about their testimony, their hearts desire is to give all glory to God. They want to take no glory in their salvation but give glory to God and his work in their lives. Notice the personal pronouns used in the wording when you ask someone about their salvation “I’ve prayed a prayer”, ”I walked an aisle”, ”I’ve gotten baptized,” “I invited Jesus into my heart.” We should avoid using personal pronouns that put the focus on ourselves because it diminishes the glory of God. The only reason a person is saved is the grace of God. A better use of language would be “He saved me,” “He gave me a new heart,” or ”He had mercy on me.” we should question those around us who is very testimonies do not give glory to God but elevate man and the flesh.

Another area they will glorify Christ with their words regarding their language. They will not want to use crude language and will want to avoid gossip.

Colossians 3:8
“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.“

Ephesians 4:29
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.“ Luke 6:45

A good indicator of someone’s heart is the words that they use in the way that they speak. Someone who fears God will not feel comfortable spewing out profanity. Also, do they speak of Christ often? We often speak about what is most important to us and if they rarely bring up Christ and His Word, we have to assume that Christ and His Word are not important to them. This pattern of speech should be followed with holy living. They should be living their lives striving for obedience to walk within the parameters of scripture and this should be evident in the way they live their lives with holiness and obeying God’s commands. This does not mean perfection, but it does mean a general attitude of striving for obedience, repentance when they have sinned, and grieving when they sin against God.

I think these are some helpful tips to look at when examining someone who says they follow Christ. What do they confess about Christ? Does it line up with the Christ of the scripture? Are they divisive among the body? Are they speaking truth no matter what men think? Will they stand without compromise? As Galatians 1:10 says- 10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant[a] of Christ.“

Be on guard against the pretenders. Examine their fruit and what they say. Call those who aren’t living holy lives to repentance.